Spending hours hunched over a desk or performing strenuous physical tasks throughout the workday can be draining, physically and mentally. Fortunately, intermittent stretching relieves tense muscles, circulates the blood more quickly, and gives us overall energy to continue the workday. Below, find five exercises you can perform while sitting or standing that take only a minute or two of your time. All of these exercises can be done sitting down, feet flat on the floor, with space between you and your desk. Allow yourself to breathe deeply and continuously (unless otherwise indicated) and to yawn freely. You’ll get a mini-workout without leaving your workstation!
1. Neck Stretch
Drop your chin forward, slowly turn your head to one shoulder as if you’re trying to look behind you, and return to center. Repeat 5 times. Then do the same in the other direction.
2. Neck Resistance Exercise
Clasp your hands behind your head and press your head backward, resisting with your hands. Hold for 15 seconds, repeat.
3. Shoulder/Arm Stretches
Raise your arms from your sides, fists pointing up, with elbows at a right angle and your upper arms at shoulder height, parallel to the floor. Slowly bring your forearms together, and then as far apart as is comfortable, repeating 10 times. Then grasp one elbow with the other hand and pull it gently across your chest. Release and repeat 10 times on each side.
4. Arm Curls & Whirls
Sit straight & stretch your arms out to each side, parallel to the floor and with palms facing up. Slowly bend your elbows, curling your fingers in and touching your shoulders. Straighten out your arms again and repeat 10 times. Then let your arms dangle at your sides for 10 seconds, raise your arms out to shoulder height again and slowly rotate both arms in small circles, 10 forward and 10 backward. Lower your arms for a brief rest and start over.
5. Shoulder/Upper Back Stretches
Lean slightly forward in your chair, clasp your hands together behind your lower back, lift your arms as far as is comfortable and hold for 30 seconds.